A growing body of researchers at Johns Hopkins shows that practicing yoga can reduce stress and help those recovering from a cardiac event.
Learn about the benefits of yoga and start practicing this wonderful exercise for the health of your entire body.
Is yoga safe for me?
Anyone can do yoga , including the obese, patients with heart failure and people with all kinds of cardiovascular problems, plus you do not need a prescription to practice it.
However, it is always a good idea to discuss new exercise plans with your doctor. Certain types of yoga may be safer for you than others. People with high blood pressure , for example, may need to modify certain postures. Certain high-risk patients may benefit from taking a class with a medical cardiac yoga instructor. Ask your doctor or cardiac clinic for recommendations in your area.
A large number of studies show the benefits of yoga in many aspects of cardiovascular health, says Hugh Calkins , director of the Cardiac Arrhythmia Service at Johns Hopkins University , “There has been a major change in the last five years or more in the number of cardiologists and other professionals, recognizing that these benefits are real. ”
Yoga is a mind-body activity that involves moving through a series of body postures and breathing exercises that can improve strength, flexibility, balance and relaxation. Dozens of different formats, or practices, emphasize different approaches, such as toning, strength training or meditation.
4 benefits of yoga for heart health
1.- Yoga for stress
One of the clearest benefits of yoga for the heart is its ability to relax the body and mind. Emotional stress can cause a cascade of physical effects, including the release of hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline , which narrow your arteries and increase blood pressure. The deep breathing and mental focus of yoga can compensate for this tension.
Worry and depression usually follow a cardiac event, such as a heart attack, bypass surgery or the diagnosis of heart disease. As part of a general treatment plan, yoga can help manage this stress .
2.- Yoga as reinforcement of the heart
Beyond the stress out of the load, practicing yoga can help lower blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels , as well as heart rate, making it a lifestyle intervention.
A study has shown that slow-paced yoga classes twice a week reduces the frequency of atrial fibrillation episodes in patients with that condition. In another report, patients with heart failure who went through an eight-week yoga program showed an improvement in exercise capacity and quality of life. They also had low blood levels of markers of inflammation, which contributes to heart disease.
3.- Yoga as an aid to stop smoking
Some research indicates that yoga can be a useful tool to help smokers quit this habit. Smoking is one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease.
4.- Yoga as an exercise
Yoga can also improve flexibility, muscle strength and balance, because it is not a form of aerobic exercise that increases your heart rate, however, you should not count the time you spend on it as part of your recommended weekly total for moderate to vigorous physical activity.